An Indian request in 1854 for 1,000 white brides to ensure peace is secretly approved by the U.S. government in this alternate-history novel. Their journey west is described by May Dodd, a high-society woman released from an asylum where she was incarcerated by her family for an affair.
Okay, this was just silly. The occupation of the Black Hills and the forced relocation of the Cheyenne (and others) to inadequate reservations are a decidedly low point in American public policy. This novel would have us believe that the two most compelling points to take away from this are:
1. This would be really awful if it happened to white women.
2. Dude, Indians do it doggie-style!
Grade: F. Stupid.
Recommended: Good grief.
?ÃƒÂ¡Yes, racism. ?ÃƒÂ¡Even though Fergus took pains to do his research and to portray his characters of all 'races' as complex individuals and as members of peoples with both 'bad' and 'good' customs, he just doesn't get it. ?ÃƒÂ¡For example, he apologizes in advance for any errors he may make in transcribing the language of the Cheyenne, but not for any misunderstandings of their cultural practices... and boy he writes of those practices as if he has the knowledge of a tribal elder. ?ÃƒÂ¡
And the dialect he puts in the women's mouths - at least, the Irish, Swiss, and Southern women. ?ÃƒÂ¡The less exotic women speak in perfect English. ?ÃƒÂ¡Of course this is all told in the journals of May... are we really to believe she scribbled over campfire-light italics to indicate the loyke us and the mahself every time she recorded her companion's language?
I don't even want to talk about Euphemia, aka Black White Woman.
Other things trouble me. ?ÃƒÂ¡The southern belle clings to her memories and her flask (a magical self-filling flask, apparently, btw) until she's gang-raped by another nation. ?ÃƒÂ¡Then her Cheyenne husband patiently nurses her, and all of a sudden she's happy and glowing and fully assimilated to the savage way of life.... ?ÃƒÂ¡?ÃƒÂ¡
I finished because I wanted to find some redeeming value. ?ÃƒÂ¡I'm sure the author meant well. ?ÃƒÂ¡But ... fail ... another day of my life, lost.
One Thousand White Women is a work of fiction about if white women were given to the Native Americans mainly the Cheyenne's. The belief of the Native Americans is that all babies belong to the woman's tribe. The American Government decides that this is a great way to assimilate the Indians to the white man's world.
As I read this book I found myself getting very interested in the characters. You meet many different white women. I found them very interesting. You have some that are very independent, some shy, some different and some just crazy. The characters are well dimensioned. As the story progresses you learn a lot about the women and how strong they really are. Some of the women really start to discover themselves.
It was interesting to learn some customs of the Native Americans. Some were a little scary. I also found the similarities between the white man's thinking and the Indian's thinking very interesting. The Indian's feel that the man is superior to women and are left out of a few things. Their is one women who realizes this and dose some things to enlighten the Indians. The women is May Dodd and these are her journal entries.
The positive aspects of this book is that it while May and her compatriots find love and much to admire in their new home, they Cheyenne are not idealized (a la Dances With Wolves). May while appreciating her new husband and free lifestyle never stops referring to the Indians as savages. The book comes to a sad but inevitable end as the Americans lust for land leads to the conquest of the Cheyenne, white women included.
This book was better than I expected as I thought it would be a more flippant farce. I did find that Fergus as a male author failed to write convincingly in the female voice. For example, May suffers some traumatic experiences that are rather casually put behind her. Still, it's a unique framing for a historical novel and an enjoyable read.
The book takes the form of a journal written by May Dodd, a member of the first (and only) wave of white women provided the Cheyenne. The women sent to the Cheyenne were a motley crew of prostitutes, lunatics and other undesirables (with a few interesting exceptions). The story describes the white womenâ€™s efforts to survive the Cheyenne lifestyle and adapt to a totally foreign way of life.
The most common complaint in many of the unflattering reviews of this book is the stereotypical nature of the characters. While it is true that many of the characters are stereotypes, the fact is that stereotypes develop for a good reason. While stereotypical, by and large, the characters are believable in my opinion. The book is entertaining, and while not a great work of literature, it is worthwhile nonetheless. It is a quick and easy, captivating read.
While a distinctly fictional account that is not truly representative of the original time-period this will take the reader into a facsimile of the period that may well lead them to want to know more - which is never a bad thing! Jim Fergus does a decent job of writing in the voice of his main character - May Dodd, providing his reader with a viewpoint of the time and personages involved with an interestingly deft hand. I enjoyed the portrayals of native living and the contrasts shown between the cultures.
An enjoyable read. =)
It's probably one of the worst historical fiction books I've ever read. Immensely demeaning to women, the protagonist is probably supposed to be a spirited woman far ahead of her time. I found her insulting and could never connect with her on any level. The author clearly means to present Native Americans in a sympathetic light, as well, but only succeeds in perpetuating too many stereotypes.
I'd like to be able to say that the storyline improved by the end of the book, but unfortunately, I never made it that far.
Fergus tells a compelling story. He takes just a scrap of actual historical fact and turns it into a believable adventure.